Chapter 4Project Initiation: Turning a Problem or Opportunity into a Project


Of all the decisions made in the life of a project, which one will have the greatest impact?

The answer is the first decision, the decision to pursue the project. That decision puts all the wheels of execution into motion and leads to a chain of events that could potentially go on for years, depending on the nature of the project.

With that in mind, it would make sense that any and every decision to launch a project is preceded by careful analysis of the potential benefits, costs, resource requirements, strategic alignment, and many other factors associated with the project. The key deliverable of project initiation is a project proposal, which is variously referred to as a project justification, business case, or a similar term.

This chapter emphasizes the importance of the project initiation process: that launching a new project should rely on disciplined, thorough analysis, and that any project, no matter how valuable, must be considered in the context of the organization's other projects and strategies. We will place project initiation into the context of the entire project life cycle, examine the skills and techniques required during initiation, and recommend guidelines for turning a problem or an opportunity into a project proposal. This chapter also introduces a powerful technique, the logical framework approach, which has been proven on major projects around the world, yet has ...

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